"I will not have a single person slighted or left away"

"This hour I tell things in confidence,
I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you."

Friends of mine, friends of this blog, now it can be told: I am one quarter Swedish. I will pause for you to regain your composure after this revelation.

If you know me personally, you know that my highbrow film director of choice is Peter Greenaway, not Ingmar Bergman; my classical musical tastes running to Purcell or Gilbert & Sullivan, rather than... whoever the Swedish composers are. Even with the Muppets, I always preferred Sam the Eagle to the Swedish Chef. I have just never really cared about Sweden. I don't even like Swedish fish.

More Robert Bork than "Bork bork bork!"

My other half, at least, has an interest in some things Swedish, if you count ABBA, and Ikea's meatballs. Can we assume this swedophile tendency accounts for at least 25% of his affection for me?

If you know me through this blog alone, you will know that the ancestry I have written about is primarily British (either English or Scotch-Irish), with occasional forays into France and Denmark, but never Sweden. Until now.

This Scandinavian heritage comes to me by way of my paternal grandmother, Hazel Lucille Erickson (6 Sep 1910 - 6 May 2002); she is unique among my grandparents as she was the only first-generation American, born of immigrants. She loved all things Swedish, at least, and contributed elements of my costume, seen below, in a school pageant from second grade. (We sang a medley of "it's a small world" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands.") Inexplicably, I am holding a Danish flag, although I notice one of the girls in the front does have a Swedish flag... lilla slyna.


"A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America."
Harper Elementary School, Fountain Valley, California.

Anyway. Grandma Hazel's parents were Erick Albert Erickson (28 Aug 1864 - 27 Nov 1948) and Johanna Maria "Marie" Svärd (Feb 1875 - 28 Apr 1914). Although both were born in southwest Sweden in the Västra Götaland area, they emigrated to America in 1888 and 1892, respectively. Erick, the oldest of nine children, came alone (his four youngest siblings following some years later); Marie seems to have arrived with or shortly after her only sister, Ida Carolina Svärd (29 Apr 1872 - 4 Nov 1952).

At any rate, by 1900, they were both living and working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Erick was working as a railroad foreman, while Marie was a waitress in her sister's cafe; perhaps that is where they met? They married on 17 January 1903, in Minneapolis.


Wedding Portrait.

The Erickson's first child, William Arvid Erickson (21 Jun 1905 - 18 Apr 1954), was born in 1905 in Hibbing Minnesota (where just a few years later the Greyhound Bus company would be founded), followed in 1910 by my grandmother. Interestingly, Hibbing is also the home town of Bob Dylan, who in nearly every way imaginable is the exact opposite of my grandmother Hazel, who, despite many nice attributes, was famously uptight and perpetually fussy, which seems to neatly put to rest the idea that environment has much to do with personality, but I digress....

The Ericksons remained in St Louis county, now home also to Erick's youngest three brothers, who worked the mines in the Iron Range. Then in 1914, Marie died, age thirty-nine, leaving her husband alone with two young children.

Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis Minnesota.
Photo courtesy of  Reed and Mary Lou Erickson

Erick, William, and Hazel returned to Minneapolis, where Erick continued working as a railroad foreman. Sometime after 1920, my grandmother went to live with her aunt and uncle, Ida Carolina (Svärd) and Gustaf Ferdinand Erickson (5 Jun 1865 - 24 Jun 1943, and no apparent relation to her father), and their three children. My grandmother's cousin Grace B Erickson (22 Aug 1898 - 12 Apr 1993) was like an older sister to Hazel, and they remained close until her death.

From left: Hazel Lucille Erickson, Erick Albert Erickson,
 Grace B Erickson, Ida Carolina Svärd. Probably the late 'teens.

By 1930, my grandmother was living with the other Ericksons in Minneapolis, but neither her father nor brother William are to be found, at least on the 1930 U S Federal Census. It all balances out, however, as Erick, Marie and William appear twice on the 1910 Census, unless there happen to be two families with the same names, birth dates and locations, and father's occupation; both families living in St Louis County. Of course, with so many Swedish Ericksons in Minnesota at the time, anything's possible....

Erick Albert Erickson continued to work on the railroad for a few more years, finally retiring and living with his son William until his death in 1948. My grandmother met my grandfather, married, and had three boys.... But that story is for another time.


Left: my grandparents, Hazel Lucille Erickson and Leroy "Roy" Stanley Burnett.
At her feet is her cousin Russell Fillmore Erickson (11 Jun 1910- 3 Sep 1988).
Right: Hams indeed! Grandpa Roy, cousin Russell, and Grandma's brother William Arvid Erickson.

As I said, I've not had much interest in Sweden, and by extension that part of my family tree. Growing up, on summer vacations or other trips, my paternal grandparents, she prissy and humorless, he stern and humorless, were not much fun. So dour, so Swedish (at least in her case; he was a dour Yankee).

Seeing the photos above, however, I wish I had known them better.

1  Erick Albert Erickson (28 Aug 1864 - 27 Nov 1948), son of Erik Andersson (24 Oct 1830 -1917) and Anna Charlotte Clauson (5 Oct 1841 -1920), married Johanna Maria "Marie" Svärd (5 Feb 1875 - 28 Apr 1914), daughter of Johannes Svärd (3 Jun 1837 - 27 Oct 1917) and Katarina Larsdotter (8 Jun 1830 - 30 Jan 1896), on 17 Jan 1903, in Minneapolis Minnesota.

2  Hazel Lucille Erickson (6 Sep 1910 - 6 May 2002) married Leroy Stanley "Roy" Burnett (31 Aug 1910 - 11 May 1980), son of Alfred Nathaniel Burnett (19 Aug 1883 - 31 Jul 1959) and Jennie Arleta Eaton (14 Mar 1891 - 15 Apr 1979) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 21 June 1933.

3  [Living] Burnett married Beverly Alane Brown (8 Aug 1934 - 7 Mar 2010), daughter of Dana Earl Brown (26 Jan 1910 - 10 Sep 1984) and Myrna Margaret Severin (5 Nov 1907 - 12 Jun 1997), in Long Beach, California, on 4 March 1961.

4  Your humble blogger.

"There was never any more inception than there is now"

I love autumn, in part because of all the leaves changing colors in the trees.


I have always had an affinity for trees, if not quite at the Joyce Kilmer level. (And I cannot tell you how glad I am that I checked the precise definition of "arborphilia" before using it in conjunction with myself....) Once, when much younger, I cried when one of our trees was cut down.

Recently, one of the large trees in front of our home had to be removed (it was, in fact, nearly dead). Although I didn't cry, it did sadden me somewhat. Part of what I love about our village is that it is surrounded by woods, and that there are so many magnificent old trees in our neighborhood. The village is going to replace the tree (we have been a "Tree City" for many years running), but of course, that will mean some mere sapling.


Autumn, of course, does lead one to think about the "autumn of one's life" and all that implies as well. Regrettably, I may not live to see that sapling become a mature tree. And the same way that some trees reach the end of their natural life, the same is true for family trees. My family tree, in toto, is specific to only my sister and myself; neither of us have children. Certainly, cousins share one side or other, but the unique tree that is mine will not go any further than this generation.

Which leads me to consider family tree charts, and the mixed metaphors therein. The most common pedigree charts show someone as the trunk of the tree, with their parents and grandparents as limbs. More correctly though, it you are the trunk, shouldn't your forebears be the roots, a term we commonly use? And then your own children could be the limbs, putting yourself at the middle of the tree, rather like an hourglass chart. Not as picturesque, but more accurate.

Anyway, apparently I am a stump. A stump by choice, but a stump nonetheless. Which makes for a slight melancholy when I stop to think that my genealogy research--although a delightful pastime for me--will ultimately not be of much interest to anyone. (We will forgo any contemplation as to who--if anyone--it interests right now....)

Looking at the larger picture, what will be--if not my legacy, whatever that is-- the fate of the things I leave behind? Where will they go? Where will they end up? Thinking about people about whom I have posted here before, I cannot help but wonder: what became of Thomas Lombard's books or Adaline Ketchum's sewing machine? Frank Bursley Taylor and his wife Minnetta Amelia Ketchum lived long, prosperous lives but had no children; do any of their belongings still exist, and if so, where?

Which, in a more than usually roundabout way, leads me to this post's subject, a maternal great-grandfather, Clarence Edgar Brown.


Caption by his son, Dana Earl Brown.

Clarence was born 1 Dec 1878 in Missouri, the sixth of eleven children, the third (and last) son. After living briefly in Colorado, where his father, Silas W Brown (abt 1835 - 20 Nov 1883) attempted prospecting (!), the family returned to the Kansas City area.

By 1903 Clarence found his way to Minnesota, where, at age twenty-four, he married Cora Mabel Kinman. Their first son, Rex Hugh Brown, was born in Minneapolis 1 Jun 1905 but lived less than a year. (Both of my maternal grandparents lost a brother; I have sometimes wondered what they might have thought about this coincidence.) Shortly thereafter, the Browns moved to Fargo, North Dakota, where two other sons followed, Dana Earl Brown (my grandfather) in 1910, and Ray Edgar Brown in 1914.

As an adult, in true Brown fashion, Clarence possessed some inexplicable wanderlust, moving every few years and changing careers nearly as often. He worked variously as an insurance collector (and later, manager); salesman for retail giant Butler Brothers in Minnesota; and as an "advertising man" for a printing company.

Butler Brothers, a few years before Clarence's employment in the 'teens.
 The building is still there, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

From Pater, introducing his filium. About 1930.

I know of at least seven addresses for the Browns from 1905 to 1935, almost all in the Minneapolis area, sometimes living with the Kinmans, Clarence's in-laws.

In 1916, the Browns are living with in-laws, so we know where they are.
 But where is Clarence? The postmark reads Salem, but: Salem where?
(And I have to note: I love his handwriting.)

Most of the houses and apartments in which the Browns lived are still there, which speaks well to Minneapolis' preservation efforts. Here is another Kinman-Brown home, from about 1920 and today.


Originally built in 1909, it is mostly unchanged.

After about 1934, things get fuzzier. The last employment I am aware of for Clarence is the advertising job in 1930; the last address from 1934. It is also hard to get a grasp on his nature; in the few photographs I have, he is always looking rather stiff and stern, although there is a hint of smile, perhaps, in this formal portrait.


Probably about 1930.

When going through my mother's things after she died, I found all that remained of my grandparents' belongings. My family tends not to be nostalgic, or keep souvenirs; where I get that trait has yet to be determined.... There was very little from my grandfather's early years, and even less about his father: a few photographs in an album; the portrait, postcard, and business card shown above; and this satchel.


I am curious as to why it was kept, but oddly pleased to have it. There were also two letters from Clarence, one from 18 May, the other 30 June 1937, written to his wife, Cora. They were sent from Jonesboro, Louisiana. Here is the latter in its entirety:

Dear Cora,

Just read Ruth's letter [I am unsure who this is] as she states you are back from hospital, will write you at the home address. [Cora was recovering from an accident in which she broke her hip and wrist.] By the way, she addresses the letter to Clarence and they know me at the Post Office as C.E., so will be more sure of getting it if addressed "C.E.", as I think there is a nigger gets mail by the name of "Clarence."

Surely glad to hear that the bed sore has responded to treatment, but indeed sorry to hear that they had to do the setting of the wrist over again. However it is no doubt better to have it done right, as in the other way it may have been so it was crooked and also might have lamed you for life. I surely hope the hip is coming along all right and that you are getting along finally. Will certainly  be fine when I can hear from you direct, as there is much more satisfaction that way. However, I appreciate the kindness of Ruth in writing and letting me know while you cannot write.

It has been quite hot here  during the month and I imagine it will be hotter yet during July and August. Watermelon and canteloupes are now coming in down here. Have not had any yet, but hope to get a slice or two of watermelon soon. Can get a pretty good size one for 20¢. Hot weather has pretty well put business on the stand still around here, as they like to get in the shade. Have been doing a little from time to time, but have not been able to get two or three days work following one another. However, I managed to pinch off a little money for you and am sending same, enclosed $5.00 and hope you get the letter okay, without delay. Hope to be able to send more, soon. Well, there is no news, so will close, hoping that you are rapidly recovering and will be in fine shape soon.

As always, with much love, Clarence

P.S. Mail to this town, as usual and if I leave (which I will do soon) I will leave forward address.

Apart from making me wonder what Clarence's latest employment might have been, I could not imagine why this particular letter, admitting itself that there was no real news in it, had been kept. It was not until I learned that Clarence died just two months later, on 21 August 1937, that I realized: it must have been the last letter they ever received from him. He was fifty-eight.

Just two brief letters and a postcard, a satchel, and a few pictures. Dried leaves, once brightly colored, from a life.
 
Clarence in Florida in 1926. Still dour and suited, but perched on a palm tree.
Unlike the autumn foliage that began this post,  palm trees--like memories-- are evergreen.


1. Clarence Edgar Brown (1 Dec 1878 - 21 Aug 1937), married Cora Mabel Kinman (4 Sep 1876 - 22 Aug 1958), daughter of William Edwin Kinman and Sarah Jane Conley, on 16 Sep 1903, in Morgan, Minnesota.

2. Dana Earl Brown (26 Jan 1910 - 10 Sep 1984) married Myrna Margaret Severin (6 Nov 1907 - 12 Jun 1997), daughter of John Jacob "Jack" Severin and Isabelle "Belle" Runser, on 21 Oct 1933, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

3. Beverly Alane Brown (8 Aug 1934 - 7 Mar 2010) married [Living] Burnett, son of Leroy Stanley Burnett and Hazel Lucille Erickson, on 4 Mar 1961, in Long Beach, California.

4. Your humble blogger.






"draped with black muslin"

Today being All Souls' Day, I can't help but think about the "departed," whether faithful or not, which led me to consider burials, graveyards, and such (perhaps as a macabre bit of lingering Hallowe'en celebration as well).
 
It seems that many people have a fascination with cemeteries. Mine began indirectly, through a high school English teacher. Our mutual dislike of Dickens ("One damned thing after another" was her critique) encouraged her to suggest alternate reading material; she thought I might enjoy Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One. At the time, going off the curriculum was practically transgressive; the old dear merely wanted to foster my love of reading. One can only imagine what she would make of today's shenanigans between teachers and students, but I digress.... She was right about Waugh (thanks, Mrs. Pyle!), and he has since become one of my favorite authors. I thought The Loved One was wonderful (the movie version far less so, a twenty-five year old Paul Williams appearing as a child rocket scientist--literally--being but one example), and I was even more delighted when I discovered the novel was based on a real place, Forest Lawn, located not far from where I lived at the time. A pilgrimage ensued, of course, but not before I picked up a 1931 edition of ART GUIDE and Forest Lawn Interpretations, with introduction by Bruce Barton, A Guide Book and Encyclopedia, illustrated. Bruce Fairchild Barton (August 5, 1886 – July 5, 1967), coincidentally, is a distant cousin of mine through the Davenport line; he is probably best remembered today as the author of The Man Nobody Knows (1925), which, according to Wikipedia, "depicted Jesus Christ as a successful salesman, publicist and role model for the modern businessman," a sort of Saint Babbitt, apparently. Anyway.
 
From one of my photo albums (remember those?). I am perusing the ART GUIDE (etc...),
 no doubt reading about the beautiful statuary or memorial architecture. 
 
Another favorite author of mine, as followers of this blog will know, is Gertrude Stein. On vacation in Paris, visiting her haunts was an unquestionable part of the itinerary, including a stop at Père Lachaise Cemetery. It was extraordinary, and one of the highlights of the trip. Despite spending several hours there, I never did locate Gertrude's monument, nor that of Oscar Wilde, hélas.

From left: A beautiful day to go graving; a blondined me exploring; M. Barye reminded me of Disney's Haunted Mansion.
 
In marked contrast to the excesses of the French, many of my family, in recent generations, have been cremated, their ashes scattered at sea. They do not even have a marker or cenotaph, although my paternal grandparents and maternal great-grandparents do.

Greenwood Memorial Park, Renton, Washington.

Chapel of the Chimes, Hayward, California.

Of course, fashions in burial change like everything else, although certainly not as quickly. Going further back by a generation or two, I start to see tasteful, "generic" headstones, often with plaques inset nearby. Here are examples from my paternal 2x great-grandfather:


Hewitt Cemetery, Hewitt, Minnesota.
 
 
and maternal 2x great-grandmother.

Summit Cemetery, Foxboro, Wisconsin.

The 1800s seems to be the era of obelisks and similar monuments. Here are examples from third and fourth great-grandfathers (respectively) Nathaniel S Burnett (12 Mar 1826 - 10 Oct 1885) and John Wallace Cherry (27 May 1788 - 10 Feb 1857).

Greenwood Union Cemetery, Le Center, Minnesota.
 
Oak Grove Cemetery, Delaware, Ohio.

Reaching further back yet, we start getting the really fun ones. Although not on the baroque (a word I settled on after considering both "gaudy" and "camp") scale of Père Lachaise, they have a lovely and sometimes sinister (all those skulls!) New England charm. Here's a random sampling, not duplicating those I've posted elsewhere.


Ann ? (abt 1760 - 29 May 1826), first wife of Nathaniel Eaton (22 Jan 1722 - 22 Sep 1860); 5x gg.
Eaton Family Cemetery, Summerhill, New York.


Isaac Cornwell (30 Jun 1747 - 11 Sep 1812), 6x gg.
Old Westfield Cemetery, Middletown, Connecticut.
 
Capt Simon Davis (19 Jan 1683 - 10 Apr 1755); 8xgg.
Ancient Cemetery, Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts.


Joseph Hamlin (20 Nov 1680 - 27 Aug 1766), 8x gg.
West Barnstable Cemetery, West Barnstable, Massachusetts.

Of course, this post is meant to be neither an authoritative nor general history of funerary practice (nor even an Art Guide...), but it did give me a chance to reminisce and look back at a few--if not All--of the Souls in my family tree.

Rebecca Robinson (8 May 1748 - 8 Oct 1807), 6x gg,  and others.
Westlawn Cemetery, Williamstown, Massachusetts.


Many thanks to the contributors at Find-A-Grave, who provided many of these pictures!

"The wonder is always and always..."

 

Almost every year, I re-read the Oz books. It is usually a summer occupation, those jolly and carefree stories the perfect match to a hammock and cold drink. But, as in so much else it seems, I'm running a little behind; this year's return to Oz began just last month. Right now I'm in the middle of the eleventh book, The Lost Princess of Oz--you remember, the one where Ozma goes missing, so Dorothy and all the other celebrated Oz characters search among the Winkies and Munchkins to find her.... No?


Nearly as nice as a hammock.

Anyway. Long about the part where the Frogman jumps over the gulf separating the Yips from the rest of Oz, it occurred to me how many of the Oz books involve a search for a particular person, the term "person" being loosely applied, of course, in a land of living tinmen, anthropomorphic quilts, and assorted talking objects. All of these missing friends and family, all of these quests.... This, despite Glinda's Magic Book!


The eleventh and nineteenth in the series.

My musings continued, easily linking the idea of searching for family in the Oz books with genealogical research, and I wondered what might happen when two hobbies collide. I have been an Oz fan since childhood, first introduced to that marvelous land--like most of us--through the 1939 film, and its annual television broadcast. By second grade, I was so enamored of the story and songs (and musical theater in general, another nascent love) that I auditioned for--and got, beating out a bunch of no-talent third and fourth graders--the part of the Scarecrow in my elementary school's stage version.


"If I Only Had an Agent"

My introduction to the actual Oz books themselves did not come until a few years later. And it was a few years after that when I first became interested in genealogy. The rest, as they say, is--if not history--at least blog fodder. Which begs the question: why am I writing about Oz in a genealogy blog?

Because L. Frank Baum, the man who first discovered Oz and began the beloved series, married Maud Gage on 9 Nov 1882. And she is my ninth cousin, three times removed! (Those of you who follow this blog may take a minute to savor yet another example of my near-miss relationships to prominent people.)

I discovered this--to me--remarkable fact when reading up a little on Baum himself, who was partly of English and Scotch-Irish descent, as I am. I thought it might be fun to see if somehow, somewhere we might be related or connected. Some quick Googlery and Ancestry.com-ing proved that Baum would be a bust ("be a bust, be a bust"--can you hear it too?), but that his wife was more promising. Passing aside her suffragette mother, Matilda Joslyn Gage, I traced Maud Gage's father's line instead. Once I began seeing "Barnstable, Massachusetts" on some of the early births and deaths I thought it likely I'd hit gold if I could just follow ("Follow! Follow! Follow! Fol--" cripes, those tunes are catchy) back a bit further.

And there it was: Lombard. A name I knew from my own family tree. A little more quick "research" (none of this hasty investigating will get me into the NEHGS, that's for sure), and I found the link: Thomas Lombard (2 Feb 1581 - 1663). He was born in Dorset, England, and came to America in 1630, aboard the Mary and John. He settled in Barnstable in 1639, where he was the first inn-keeper, and lived there until his death. His will indicates that he owned books, good fellow, to the value of fourteen shillings. After that, he gets a bit sketchy. He apparently had several wives about whom we know little, with children by each, about whom we know a bit more.

Thomas' oldest son, Bernard Lombard (1608- 1668) is the seven-times great-grandfather of Maud Gage; another son, Jedidiah Lombard (1640 - 1682), is my ten-times great-grandfather. In a further coincidence (or as further proof of just how inbred New England was in those days), another brother, Joshua Lombard (8 Oct 1627 - 1697) is also related to me, although just by marriage. He married Abigail Linnell (1630 - 1662); his grand-daughter Hopestill Lombard (15 Nov 1686- 1756) was the second wife of Joseph Hamlin (20 Nov 1680 - 27 Aug 1766), my eighth great-grandfather. I am descended from Hamlin and his first wife, Mercy Howland (1678 - aft 1721).

And for those of you not entirely confused yet, let me note that the name "Linnell" might ring bells if you are a follower of this blog. Abigail Linnell, Joshua Lombard's wife, was the sister of both Hannah Linnell (17 Apr 1625 - 1701; she married John Davis), a ten times great-grandmother of mine, and Bethia  Linnell (7 Feb 1640 - 25 Mar 1726; she married Henry Atkins), a nine times great-grandmother of mine. ("And you were there, and you were there....")

I feel quite confident that if I keep looking, I will be able to find connections to the remaining Linnell siblings: David and Mary and Shubael (oh my)! But rather than look into that now, or see to whom else I can make myself be related, I've got a book to finish reading.

Ozma isn't going to find herself.


"...more the silent one..."

In honor of Halloween, allow me to introduce you to The Spook, also known by the less macabre name of Sarah Jane Conley, one of my maternal second great grandmothers.


The Spook holding a pumpkin, appropriately enough.

Sarah Jane Conley was born in November 1857, in Richland County, Illinois, sixth child (of seven) of David Conley (abt 1822 -aft 1880) and Rebecca Tolliver (abt 1823 - 1869). It is through Sarah Jane that I am a Double Tolliver, as her parents were second cousins. Sarah Jane's great-grandparents on her father's side were William Maxwell and Lucy Tolliver, while her great-grandparents on her mother's side were Jesse Tolliver and Martha Stamper, Lucy and Jesse being brother and sister.

The Conleys were farmers, and moved to the recently formed Redwood County, Minnesota, sometime in the early 1870s. In 1875, on 13 Nov 1875, the just-of-age Sarah Jane married William Edwin Kinman. The Kinmans, like the Conleys, had been living in Illinois in 1870, and moved to Minnesota about the same time as the Conleys. I do not know if they families knew each other in Illinois; the Conleys and Tollivers (and associated families) tended to be clannish, and I can find no records of other Kinmans in their milieu.

At any rate, the newlyweds seem to get along fine; their first child (of six), Cora Mabel Kinman was born just ten months later. Growing up with siblings named Susan, Rebecca, Catharine, George, John, and Anna (all common names of the era, and much-used in the Tolliver clan) it comes as a bit of a surprise to find Sarah Jane giving her own children such comparatively exotic names as Alta, Iza May, and Lola.


From left: William Edwin Kinman and Sarah Jane (Conley) Kinman; their grandson,
 Dana Earl Brown; daughters Lola Dorothy (Kinman) Gilmore, Cora Mabel (Kinman) Brown,
 Alta Edith (Kinman) Anderson; and son-in-law Walter Campbell Gilmore.
 In front; grandson Ray Edgar Brown?  About 1925.

The Kinmans remained in Redwood County until just after 1900 (William Edwin Kinman is listed as the postmaster of Morgan on the 1900  U S Federal Census), although by the early 1890s William had given up farming and taken up insurance sales. In late 1904 the family moved to Minneapolis, a consequence, no doubt, of William's success; by this time he was the State Manager of the Modern Brotherhood of America, a fraternal organization founded in 1897.

By 1920, the Kinmans had moved twice more; William Edwin Kinman was now State Director for the MBA, and along with his two unmarried daughters, Iza and Lola (both teachers), had his oldest daughter, Cora, and her family (husband Clarence Edgar Brown, and sons Dana Earl Brown and Ray Edgar Brown) living with them.

3512 Third Ave S. The house was built in 1909, and is still standing.
 Apart from a paint job, it looks nearly the same.

But what, you ask, of The Spook? After her husband's death in 1925, Sarah Jane again lived with her oldest daughter and her family, this time in their home in Moorhead, Minnesota. Apparently as time went on she became more and more reclusive and odd. (She was, by this point, in her seventies, so today we might assume she was suffering from senile dementia.)

By the time my maternal grandmother, Myrna Margaret Severin married my grandfather, Dana Earl Brown, in 1933, Sarah Jane had taken to wandering the house, silently (in part because she always wore slippers). She was known to suddenly appear, staring silently, which would usually frighten whomever she encountered. Hence the sobriquet "The Spook."


From left: The Spook, AKA Sarah Jane (Conley) Kinman, daughter Cora Mabel (Kinman) Brown,
 and granddaughter-in-law Myrna Margaret (Severin) Brown. About 1933.

In true Spook fashion, she died on Friday the 13th, March 1936.


5. Sarah Jane Conley (Nov 1857 - 13 Mar 1936) married William Edwin Kinman (Mar 1858 - 13 Jun 1925), son of William Kinman and Sarah R Moore, on 13 Nov 1875, in Redwood Falls, Minnesota.

4. Cora Mabel Kinman (4 Sep 1876 - 22 Aug 1958) married Clarence Edgar Brown (1 Dec 1878 - 21 Aug 1937), son of Silas W Brown and Malinda J Carter, on 16 Sep 1903, in Morgan, Minnesota.

3. Dana Earl Brown (26 Jan 1910 - 10 Sep 1984) married Myrna Margaret Severin (6 Nov 1907 - 12 Jun 1997), daughter of John Jacob "Jack" Severin and Isabelle "Belle" Runser, on 21 Oct 1933, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2. Beverly Alane Brown (8 Aug 1934 - 7 Mar 2010) married [Living] Burnett, son of Leroy Stanley Burnett and Hazel Lucille Erickson, on 4 Mar 1961, in Long Beach, California.

1. Your humble blogger.

"Wider and wider they spread, expanding..."


Town founders, places I haven't been, ancestors who were "bridesmaids" to history.... This post conflates (and at one point refutes) these motifs seen perhaps too often in this blog. It takes place primarily in Connecticut ("place I haven't been"--check!), but begins in England (check!).

From The History of Guilford, Connecticut, from its first settlement in 1639 by Ralph Dunning Smith:
William Seward came originally from Bristol, England, and settled first in New Haven, and, while residing there he was married to Miss Grace Norton of Guilford, April 2, 1651. He soon removed to Guilford and took the oath of fidelity there May 4, 1654. He appears to have been a tanner, a man of considerable property and eminence in the town. For a long time he was captain of the guard in Guilford….
He was also a paternal tenth great-grandfather of mine, and although an early inhabitant of Guilford, was not one of the founders of that town ("bridesmaid"--check!), although his father-in-law, Thomas Norton (15 Sep 1609 - 16 May 1648), and sons' grandfather-in-law, Francis Bushnell (1580 - 13 Oct 1646), were. The apostrophe is correct: three of the Seward sons married three of the Bushnell daughters. (For completists: one brother never married, another was killed by a horse).
The Seward son that concerns me is Caleb Seward, a ninth great-grandfather. Born in Guilford, it was there he married Lydia Bushnell (Nov 1661 - 24 Aug 1753) when he was twenty-four, in a service officiated by Mr Andrew Leete, who was not a minister, but rather son of another of Guilford's founders, William Leete, Governor of the Colony of New Haven (1661- 1665) and later, Governor of the Colony of Connecticut from 1676 until his death in 1683.
Perhaps tired of being surrounded by nothing but town founders and their descendants, at age thirty-six Caleb headed off to an area near the Coginchaug River known as "The Great Swamp," that was used as a hunting ground for the native Mattabesset people. He built a log house, brought his wife and six children, and thereby founded the town of Durham.

From Fowler:
The early inhabitants of Durham were enterprising and energetic. In the year 1698, when Caleb Seward of Guilford, the first pioneer of the unbroken wilderness, moved into his loghouse in the south part of Cogenchaug [sic], he might have climbed to the mountain top on the southern border, and have looked northwardly, as Moses looked from Pisgah upon Canaan, upon hills rising into mountain ranges on the east and on the west part of the landscape, and between them upon that long swamp, Coginchaug, and the small stream working its sluggish way though it; but he would have seen very little like a land of promise…. Think of that unbroken pathless wilderness, the abode of the wolf and the panther on the hills, a possession of the “bittern and the pools of water” in the swamps, guarded by rattlesnakes and copperhead.
They must have been men of enterprise and energy, men of bold hearts and strong hands, who could undertake the task of planting their institutions, domestic and religious, social and civil on this forbidding ground. But they performed their tasks nobly and well.
A few pages on, we learn more about Caleb Seward:
...Caleb Seward has the claim, as the first inhabitant of Durham.... After he removed to Durham, he had Ephraim, Aug. 6th, 1700, the first white born child of Durham, and Ebenezer the second white child born June 7th, 1703. He was the first Town Clerk; was a man in whom confidence was universally reposed. He was a representative of the Town fifteen sessions of the Legislature.
First inhabitant, first Town Clerk.... "Bridesmaid" no more!
  
"Here lieth Mr Caleb Seeward
 Who died Aug ye 2d, 1728
 in ye 63 year of his Age,
 Being ye First Inhabitant of Durham"

(Note both his surname and age at death are incorrect.)
 

1 Noadiah Seward (22 Aug 1697 - 1744) married Hannah Smith (22 Sep 1703 - 23 Apr 1769), daughter of Simon Smith (1658 - 15 Apr 1746) and Elizabeth Alice Wells (1672 - 8 Jul 1742)), on 19 October 1721, in Durham, Connecticut.

2 Lydia Seward (17 Jan 1722 - 6 Dec 1811) married Stephen Hickock (17 Jul 1714 - 1768), son of Stephen Hickox (12 Apr 1684 - 19 Apr 1726) and Ruth Gaylord (1686 - 1727), in 1742, in Granville, Massachusetts.

3 Stephen Hickock (30 Jun 1749 - 9 Sep 1836) married Rebecca Robinson (8 May 1748 - 8 Oct 1807), daughter of John Robinson (bef 1732 - ?) and Rebecca LKU (?), about 1770.

4 Hannah Hickock (abt 1785 - 24 Aug 1809) married Williams Davenport (12 Nov 1782 - 4 Dec 1830), son of Eliphalet Davenport (14 Oct 1750 - 17 Dec 1835) and Elizabeth Williams (31 Mar 1757 - 5 Jun 1841), on 20 Dec 1803 in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

5 Stephen Addison Davenport (20 Nov 1806 - Nov 1850) married Alma Holmes Doty (9 Oct 1814 - 10 Aug 1879), daughter of Stephen S Doty (24 Jun 1791 - 21 Oct 1870) and Polly Holmes (1788 - aft 1860), in August 1835 in Madison, New York.

6 Henrietta Davenport (Jan 1836 - May 1904) married Charles Swarts (12 Feb 1835 - 8 Jun 1909), son of John Swarts and Mary McDonald, in Wisconsin, in 1859.

7 Ella Swarts (1862 - Apr 1899) was born and lived her entire life in Minnesota. She married Charles A Burnett (Feb 1856 - 17 Jan 1930), son of Nathaniel S Burnett and Rachel Elizabeth Squire, in Scott County, Minnesota, September 1879.

8 Alfred Nathaniel Burnett (19 Aug 1883 - 31 Jul 1959) married Jennie Arleta Eaton (14 Mar 1891 - 15 Apr 1979), daughter of Dor Henry Eaton and Anna B A Miller, in Minnesota, in 1909.

9 Leroy Stanley Burnett (31 Aug 1910 - 11 May 1980) married Hazel Lucille Erickson (6 Sep 1910 - 6 May 2002), daughter of Erick Albert Erickson and Johanna Maria Svard, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 21 June 1933.

10 [Living] Burnett married Beverly Alane Brown (8 Aug 1934 - 7 Mar 2010), daughter of Dana Earl Brown and Myrna Margaret Severin, in Long Beach, California, on 4 March 1961.

11 Your humble blogger.




"the blab of the pave..."




Road trips are in my blood--perhaps literally. Whether I got it from my roaming forebears like paternal fourth great-grandfather Stephen Addison Davenport, who after moving to the newly-formed state of Wisconsin, next headed to California with the Gold Rush; or from more recent relations like my maternal grandfather, Dana Earl Brown, who drove to Hollywood from Minnesota in 1931 just for kicks, it must be in my genes somehow.

Family vacations were part of my childhood. Growing up, my family was mostly west coast, even before I was born: mom's side in California, dad's side in Washington state. We would visit my grandparents outside of Seattle almost every summer; Thanksgivings often meant a long weekend in the Bay Area with cousins. I saw a lot of Pacific Coast Highway from the window of the station wagon.



Once we took a family driving trip to the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon Caverns, then and now.

Later, while living briefly in Ohio, we went to Washington D C, Omaha, and Atlanta once each.


Even then, I wrote trip journals and sent postcards. The Nebraska trip journal, modestly titled Bob Burnett's "Around the Cornbelt [sic] in Six Whole Days," A Humorous Dialogue Based on a True Incident in the Month of August 1973, was printed in a "Special Limited Edition, Illustrated by the Author." It was full of droll observations such as "Very beautiful countryside (if you like corn and soybean)" and "Soon right before we saw Nebraska we saw many signs for a SCENIC VIEW: it was a hill!" A bit of juvenalia, no doubt, but I am pleased to see that even as a child I knew my way around a parenthetical aside and proper colon usage. I was a little more terse, if no less snarky in an (untitled) log of a trip to Northern California from my high school years: "Nondescript. Hot. Flat. Dull."
 

As an adult, my love of Road Trips has only deepened. One of my favorite vacations was a solo road trip through The South, hitting everything from Walt Disney World ("First Time Visitor") to New Orleans (for Mardi Gras) to the Great Smokey Mountains which were, in fact, all covered with snow. There was no real itinerary, aside from a few "tent poles:" visiting my friend Erik, who was attending North Carolina's Wake Forest University; the Boll Weevil Monument in Alabama.... Each night, in some quaint motel or other, I would peruse my AAA maps and guidebooks to create a theoretical route for the following day, although those often fell by the wayside as I would follow whatever whims and byways crossed my path.




Since then, I have found that trip planning can be beneficial, providing useful context and background, and preventing mishaps. Although as Dwight D Eisenhower, best remembered--I believe--as the founder of the Interstate Highway system, once remarked, regarding warfare: "before a battle begins, planning is everything; once it has started, planning is nothing." Road trips are the same. 

The ne plus ultra of my Road Trip planning was in 2003. Rather than one lengthy trip, we decided to explore California; every nook and cranny, mission, monument, and more. As I wrote in our trip recap-cum-holiday card that year: 

Two native-born sons with one awfully big mission: To See California. All of it. In one year.... And see it we did. Every mission--all 21 of 'em--from San Diego to Sonoma. What we don't know about adobe isn't worth knowing.

We visited every National Park, Monument, and Historic Site. From the well-known (Yosemite) to the obscure (who had ever heard of Pinnacles?), from untouched nature to the WW2 Homefront & Manzanar Memorials, we saw birthplaces, cemeteries, volcanoes, lighthouses, and more.

We even visited as many tourist traps as Stephen would allow. This too is California. Or so Robert said.... From the Trees of Mystery to the Winchester Mystery House, we saw the biggest, smallest, oldest, oddest, and--frankly--tackiest the Golden State has to offer, and we have the snowglobes, bumper stickers, and commemorative spoons to prove it. It seems only appropriate for this state of superlatives.

And superlative it is. We visited the highest (Mt Whitney) and lowest (Death Valley) points in the contiguous United States on the same day. We saw sagebrush, sailboats, salmon, sand dunes, sequoias, snow, steam trains, the Steinbeck Center, Sunset magazine's HQ, surf... and that was just "S."

We sought out--and found--the geographical center of California, as well as the cardinal points. We rode on everything from interstate super-highways to dirt roads and rabbit paths. We even accidentally wandered into Nevada and Oregon, albeit on two different trips; the no-doubt well-intentioned people at Rand-McNally have some explaining to do. We even spotted a few bits of land not in the sight of a new subdivision or Future Home of Wal-Mart ®, alas.

We saw everything from ice caves to outlet malls; attended a movie premiere, farmers' markets, and the Ramona Pageant; celebrated Earth Day in San Luis Obispo, Easter at Hearst Castle, and Disneyland's forty-eighth birthday.

We discovered (Eureka!) that Stephen will go into a swimming pool; you can swelter in San Francisco and freeze in the Mojave Desert; and that Maisie loves leftover hash browns from Black Bear Diner (convenient locations throughout central and northern California) more than any other food. Most importantly, we discovered that even after fifteen outings, thirty-plus roles of film, and over ten thousand miles of road, we have barely begun to see it all... but what a great beginning. California, here we come!


On the right is "Command Central." We hung a large map with pins, strings, note cards, and the like over the fireplace.
This was about partway through the year, with accumulated souvenirs.

That was followed by our more expansive "Rushmore Road Trip" in 2005, which took us through ten states and forty-eight hundred miles en route to that famous memorial.

Don't you brand your trips with logos and such?
Highlights of the trip included Golden Spike National Historic Site in Utah, Glacier, Yosemite, Wind Cave, and Badlands Nat'l Parks, Devil's Tower and Dinosaur Nat'l Monuments, and more. Of course, it wasn't all hiking and history; we also enjoyed the Cody Night Rodeo, Wall Drug, and Carhenge (a Nebraska must-see).
 
That year's card. The message: Hope Your Holidays are Monumental.
 

In 2008, after buying a home in Ohio, perhaps needless to say we drove out, in part because we were taking Maisie and Rosie along. We saw a lot more of the country, and had many adventures and mishaps, including a wild turkey going through our windshield in Kansas. We have made three driving trips back to California since then; once along Route 66, another time, after picking up our Airstream, we dodged blizzards and had a planned six-day round-trip turn into nine.

Leaving sunny California, and in snowy Somewhere Else.

We did get to see the scenic Natchez Trace, however, and a great deal of the Mexican border in our quest to avoid further snow.

 

Other Road Trips we've taken from here include a recent jaunt to New York City (to see living relatives), excursions to Murrells Inlet N C (likewise) and Kansas City, and two trips to Washington D C.


Now, if you are a follower of this blog (and if you're not, why not? It's easy....), you might remember that most of my family stories here have been about Minnesota and Wisconsin, or North Dakota, and several New England states, in particular Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. And if you've been following this post (and its handy visual aids), you'll notice that I have not mentioned trips to--or even through--any of the above-mentioned states.

There are plans--of course!--to remedy that, including a Boston-based trip for next summer that will take in Cape Cod, Plimouth Plantation, Londonderry N H and the like. I have also been sketching out a Great Lakes trip tentatively titled "On the Trail of Frederick D Ketchum," [snappy subtitle TBD) tracing his life; and have another, as yet vague trek in mind to include Minnesota and Wisconsin, a sort of genealogical double-feature, since many of Stephen's ancestors lived there as well.

This year? We're going to Disney World! But we'll be driving.